Israel criticised for barring two US Congresswomen from visiting

Israel is to block two US Congresswomen from visiting the territory. Democrats Rashida Tlaib and ...
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

21.05 15 Aug 2019

Share this article

Israel criticised for barring...

Israel criticised for barring two US Congresswomen from visiting

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

21.05 15 Aug 2019

Share this article

Israel is to block two US Congresswomen from visiting the territory.

Democrats Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar had planned to visit the occupied West Bank, where Palestinian-American Ms Tlaib has family.

It is thought to relate to their support for the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement, which is working to end international support for Israel's oppression of Palestinians.


It also comes after US President Donald Trump suggested allowing the Congresswomen into Israel would "show great weakness".

He claimed: "They hate Israel & all Jewish people, & there is nothing that can be said or done to change their minds."

Representative Tlaib shared a photograph of her grandmother on Twitter after the decision.

She said: "This woman right here is my sity. She deserves to live in peace & with human dignity.

"I am who I am because of her.

"The decision by Israel to bar her granddaughter, a US Congresswoman, is a sign of weakness b/c the truth of what is happening to Palestinians is frightening."

While Representative Omar said: "It is an affront that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, under pressure from President Trump, would deny entry to representatives of the US government.

"Trump's Muslim ban is what Israel is implementing, this time against two duly elected Members of Congress.

"Denying entry into Israel not only limits our ability to learn from Israelis, but also to enter the Palestinian territories.

"Sadly, this is not a surprise given the public positions of Prime Minister Netanyahu, who has consistently resisted peace efforts, restricted the freedom of movement of Palestinians, limited public knowledge of the brutal realities of the occupation and aligned himself with Islamophobes like Donald Trump."

"As a member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, it is my job to conduct oversight of foreign aid from the United States of America and to legislate on human rights practices around the world.

"The irony of the 'only democracy' in the Middle East making such a decision is that it is both an insult to democratic values and a chilling response to a visit by government officials from an allied nation."

The Jewish Democratic Council of America has criticised the move, calling it "short-sighted" and "political".

"A ban stops them from better informing their views on Israel.

"We're concerned Israel took this step at Trump's request and we urge Israel to reverse its decision."

Its executive director Halie Soifer said: "We strongly disagree with [Israeli] Prime Minister Netanyahu's decision to bar Reps. Omar and Tlaib from visiting Israel.

"This decision is short-sighted and highly politicised.

"Banning members of Congress from visiting Israel is counterproductive because it prevents them from informing their views of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by seeing the facts on the ground with their own eyes."

"We are deeply troubled that this unprecedented decision came at the urging of President Trump.

"Once again, President Trump has inappropriately interfered in Israel's democracy, to the detriment of the US-Israel relationship.

"The best way to fight falsehoods about Israelis with truth, and the best way to refute charges that Israel is anti-democratic is uphold democratic principles."

Several high-profile US lawmakers also hit out at the move.

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she was "deeply saddened" by it.

She said: "Last month, Israeli Ambassador Dermer stated that, 'Out of respect for the US Congress and the great alliance between Israel and America, we would not deny entry to any Member of Congress into Israel.'

"This is a sad reversal and is deeply disappointing. I pray that the government of Israel will reverse that denial.

"Israel's denial of entry to Congresswomen Tlaib and Omar is a sign of weakness... The President’s statements about the Congresswomen are a sign of ignorance and disrespect, and beneath the dignity of the Office of the President."

Senator Bernie Sanders said the ban "is a sign of enormous disrespect to these elected leaders, to the United States Congress, and to the principles of democracy."

Senator Elizabeth Warren said it would be "shameful" if they were barred from visiting because of their political views.

And Julián Castro suggested Israel had barred the women "to appease President Trump's fragile ego."

The head of the US Council on Foreign Relations, Richard Haass, said Israel had given in to President Trump and "weakened its reputation as the region's strongest democracy".

Share this article

Read more about

BDS Banned Barred Boycott Divestment Halie Soifer Ilhan Omar Israel Jewish Democratic Council Of America Occupied West Bank Palestine Palestinian-American President DOnald Trump Rashida Tlaib Sanctions Senator Bernie Sanders Senator Elizabeth Warren

Most Popular